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Oslo City Council mulls firming up property rules to address housing shortages

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Oslo City Council mulls firming up property rules to address housing shortages
Homes in the capital are being bought up and left empty, according to city councillors. Pictured is a block of flats in Oslo. Photo by Roar Skotte on Unsplash

Oslo City Council has set up a committee to assess whether it should be mandatory that a home is occupied when it is purchased to avoid a trend of people outside the Norwegian capital buying up flats to use as leisure properties. 

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The assessment comes after an increasing number of people buying property in Oslo to use as holiday homes, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten

The paper writes that there are no existing figures on the phenomenon, whereby homes in cities are being bought up to be used as byhytter (city cabins/ leisure homes). 

However, the issue appears to be enough for the Labour Party, Socialist Left Party and Green Party in Oslo City Council to consider whether an obligation to live in the capital should be introduced for house purchases. 

Obligations to live in homes are common in several areas across Norway, mainly in areas where there is a high number of holiday homes. This is to ensure that there is enough housing stock for full-time residents. There are currently no residence obligations in big cities in Norway. 

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The proposed rules would mean someone would have to live in the home for more than half the year, but not necessarily the owner. This is to ensure that the new rules don't negatively impact the rental supply in Oslo. 

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"Many young newly established people and people with normal incomes are struggling to find a home. House prices are the highest in the country, and the rental market is under great pressure. At the same time, homes are empty for large parts of the year because they are objects of speculation or are used as "cottages in the city". We have to deal with that," Trine Dønhaug, housing spokesperson for the Socialist Left Party in Oslo, told Aftenposten.

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